Friday, July 29, 2005

Arts round-up

Top 10 books about people 'on the move'.

They're new, they play good music, oh! they're Maximo Park, and they're from Newcastle.

David Baddiel on the Da Vinci Code.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Mermaids Singing

After a 10-hr sleep last night, I feel a bit more like my usual self today. Managed to get a chuck of the novel done, plus a shed load of cleaning, and also an hour-long walk (why is it that every time I get anywhere near Willesden, I get lost? Is there some sort of black hole that sucks you in and spits you out somewhere unfamiliar every time you get anywhere near it?!).

Have recently finished reading "The Mermaids Singing" by Val McDermid. If anyone has seen the tv series 'Wire in the Blood', that was based on some of her novels. The story was a gripping tale of a police inspector and a clinical psychologist profiler on the trail of a serial killer. It was brilliantly written, and I genuinely couldn't put it down. This is the first McDermid novel I've read, but it definitely won't be the last. Have just started Alan Bennett's "Three Stories", which is brilliant so far.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


sorry for the lack of posts lately, am feeling totally KNACKERED these days... normal service to be resumed shortly (I hope!)

Friday, July 22, 2005


Having a bit of a surreal moment... there's an armed siege going on in my street, but I live a bit further up and can't see anything. Sure feels weird to see your street on the news, all sealed up behind a police cordon. Looks like a bomb was thought to be in a flat at the bottom end of the street. All very worrying to think that people who can do such harm can live so near you and you have no idea.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Not again

It's happening again here in The Capital, only fortunately not on such a catastrophic scale. Very worrying indeed.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

London's Burning

Last night before I went to bed I thought I could smell burning. I put it down to the fact that probably someone was having a barbeque in the nice weather. However, I was awakened at 4am by a really strong smell of burning wafting in through the bedroom window. After checking all the rooms in the flat (just in case), it was definitely coming from outside, but I couldn't see any smoke. I turned on the radio and indeed half of London was talking about it. Some timber fire at Staples Corner, apparently. And someone rang up the radio station and said they could smell smoke in Watford!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Alternative endings for the Harry Potter series, in the style of various authors. Some of them are really rather good.

Are you younger than you think? take the test. I'm 2.6yrs younger apparently.

This book looks good - Best British Mysteries, a collection of short stories.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Another meme: [via]. Warning! personal "stuff" alert!

What I was doing 10 years ago....
In 1995 I was 18 and just starting university to do a psychology degree. On the down side, I got married in September 1995 to the bane of my life, so that wasn't such a happy time really. In 1995 I got my A-level results, and remember realising that I wasn't as infallible as I had previously thought (due to not getting the top grades I'd hoped for). Also in 1995 my eating started to go a bit haywire (probably due to a combination of all of the three above).

5 years ago......
In 2000 I was waitressing in a restaurant, a job which I hated. I felt that my life was going nowhere, eating problems had re-appeared yet again, all in all not a great year for me.

1 year ago......
Aah this is where it gets a bit better! Last year I was working in my first 'proper' job as a qualified nurse, money was coming in, I was pretty happy all round. Got married (again, yes I know!) to the spicy Kosovan after 7 years of being together, and started trying for a baby (and the rest, they say, is history ;op)

Yesterday I went to town to meet a friend I haven't seen for ages for lunch. Unfortunately she was held up in the hairdresser's for AGES, so we ended up having a sandwich in there (instead of the nice restaurants I had imagined!) and went for a coffee. She asked about my plans for the birth of the baby (including pain relief), and got a bit huffed when I said I was aiming for as little pain relief as possible. She said 'well I wanted an epidural and everything they could give me, and I don't think it makes me any less of a woman'... hmm touchy. So that was a bit of a conversation-stopper, and I made a sharp exit shortly afterwards.

5 snacks I enjoy
Bombay mix
black olives
BBQ flavour Pringles
cashew nuts

5 songs I know all the words to
"Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley
"In My Place" by Coldplay
"Let it Be" by the Beatles
"Stolen Car" by Beth Orton
"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

5 things I'd do with £100 million
Buy a swanky mansion in Hampstead / St Johns Wood
Buy a yacht
Me + hubby would give up working, I'd become a famous novelist, and he'd become a famous musician
Give some to charity (well with £100 million I guess you'd have to)
Give some to family + friends (only proper friends, mind! --> see answer above for 'yesterday')

5 locations I would like to run away to
The Amalfi coast in Italy
Sveti Stefan in Montenegro

5 things I like doing
Eating ice-lollies
Walking in the park
Spending time with The Spicy One

5 TV shows I like
The news (yes, really)
Black Books
Never Mind the Buzzcocks
Page Turners

5 favorite toys
my new DAB digital radio
mobile phone (only for texting)
dvd player

If you want to play along, either answer or add a link to your blog in the comments

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Return of the T.S.

Turkish Stalker is back! He rang twice before 8am this morning, the f*cker! Then he sent a text asking me why I not answer Susan? Weirdo.

Speaking of weirdos, had a very strange experience overnight. Was woken up at around 3.15am by hubby running up + down the stairs and then overheard him on the phone to the police saying 'there's a drunken man in my car', so had to get up and investigate. I thought he'd got it wrong, that there was perhaps a drunken man leaning on the car, but I looked out the window and sure enough someone was in the car, sat in the driver's seat, tooting the horn and with the radio on full blast. The police came, and clearly found the whole thing very bizarre and amusing...It turned out that the guy (in his early 20s) lives a few doors down from us, and had somehow, in his drunken state, thought that our car was his, got in, and thought he was waiting to pick his girlfriend up (bit odd, as he drives a BMW he said and our car is a Corsa!). Hubby thinks he must have left the window open a bit, and he's just reached in and pulled the button up to unlock the door. The man was quite rightly extremely embarrassed when he realised he was not sitting in his own car. It was the weirdest thing I've ever seen tho!! Needless to say I'm shattered now from being awake half the night, but it was well worth it !!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Went to look at the Maternity Unit at the local hospital yesterday, so feel better now I know what it all looks like and what facilities they have. The visit was followed by a good curry (the staple of pregnant women everywhere).

Story of a street.

Summer reads.

Win a book every hour today!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Review: "Long Way Round"

Just finished reading this book by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Now this is not the sort of book that I'd normally pick up. It's a travel book for one, and I have never read a travel book before. However, inspired by seeing the two guys in a tv interview about their journey some time ago, I had made a mental note to read more about their adventure. Whilst there is a fair bit of motorbike stuff in the book, and not being one for motorbikes particularly, I didn't find that it was too much or that it detracted from the story of their journey. In fact, the tales of their problems and fears about the bikes just added to the drama.

The best bit of the book for me was their tales of the people they met along the way, as they travelled almost in a straight line east of London, through Europe, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and Siberia, and then caught the plane across the sea to Alaska and continued to New York. Some of the situations they found themselves in (lots of men with guns!) were fascinating and I genuinely felt for them. The book is written with a great deal of insight into their journey, and also a great deal of empathy and respect for the lives of the people they met around the world (particularly in Mongolia). It was nice to see that Ewan McGregor especially was concerned that their trip be as anonymous as possible, and refreshing to see that he genuinely didn't want people to treat him like the big Hollywood star.

I think that the guys were perhaps a little crazy to even consider doing something like this, but admire them for doing so. I really enjoyed this book, it was well written, and easy to read. The switching between Charley's and Ewan's narrative gave different perspectives on events as they travelled. In fact, the sections on Russia and Siberia were so interesting, that I have now started reading a book about Gulag Soviet camps [review to follow!].

Friday, July 08, 2005


If anyone's interested, I've started up a new blog for my writing stuff...

I've arrived

After the shock and horror that was yesterday, it's good to see London getting back to some semblance of normality.

Ian McEwan's take on yesterday's events.

I've arrived: today for one and a half hours only, I had my own stalker. From Istanbul, no less. It started with a phone call to the mobile, which I answered, not looking at the number. I politely told the man that I thought he had the wrong number and hung up, and thought nothing more of it. Then it rang again. Then the texts started ...

Text 1. 11.56am "Hello Im sorry what you name please? I from turkey, Istanbul. My name ceka"
Text 2. 11.59am "You come nothing last year holiday Turkey?"
Text 3. 12.14pm "Please healp me. sweet girl please."
Text 4. 12.33pm "This playn finish. Im last year you photo see. and I like you because you are beautiful. and Be come I want you friend. because Im lover to you. ok. answer."
Text 5. 12.36pm "Yes I know you please understand me. please"
Text 6. 12.47pm "Please to you in need. understand me. and I love you"
Text 7. 12.55pm "Im not be mistaken. I know this number correct because this number my english friend give. ok. please for me you you you all."
Text 8. 13.05pm "Please answer. sweet girl."
Text 9. 13.18pm "you you you always. because I LOVE YOU. all i think you. please you say ok. and answer me my sms."

Plus 14 missed calls. Phew. He's one sad f*cker! If someone tells you you've got the wrong number, get the hint laddie!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The website where you can make a man in a chicken suit do strange things!

Bizarre optical illusion.

And what in the name of god is going on with the tubes today? I was going to go to King's COllege to pick an essay up, don't think I'll bother now...

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Monday, July 04, 2005

Piper at the Gates of Dawn

I'm up at the crack of dawn yet again (another 6.30 start!), so here I am blogging...

The Jamiroquai concert last night was fab, good party atmosphere, snazzy lights and quality music. He always does a good live show, I saw him live abut 8 years ago in Finsbury Park and was suitably impressed then. Bump seemed to enjoy it too! Further impressed ourselves by managing to navigate the route to Clapham in the car from home as well (our furthest expedition yet).

The return of Jackanory (hurrah!)

The author of the brilliant Wild Swans, Jung Chang, has written a new biography of Mao.

Truly shocking: The Times reports that 1 child in 10 has carried a gun in the last year. But are these young boys just saying they have done so to increase their 'street-cred', or is the figure correct?

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Due to hubby's fab new job, we have managed to get on the guest list for tomorrow's Jamiroquai (and others) outdoor festival type thing at Clapham Common. If I manage to stay awake long enough to be able to go, this will be my first proper night out in months!

For some unknown reason, at 4am this morning I was wide awake. I put the radio on, got a couple of biscuits and went back to bed. Hubby was very surprised to see me sat upright, bright eyed and bushy tailed at ten past 5 when he rolled in from work! Feel a tad sleepy now tho ...

Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday I'm in Love

The unofficial running order for tomorrow's Live 8 gig. I was interested to see Pink Floyd are down to play afew songs (yay), and even more interested to see that Pete Doherty is doing a song with Elton John. Sweet Baby Moses! Shame about Mariah Carey, but hey nothing's perfect. What with Live 8 and Gay Pride taking place in central London tomorrow, the whole city will be pretty much at a standstill.

In the first three months of being pregnant, I found I was a little obsessed with it, reading all the pregnancy books / magazines / websites I could get my hands on. This seemed to subside in the middle three months, but now I'm in the final trimester it seems to have come back with a vengeance. Have started Jools Oliver's new book today, and have already read almost half of it. Even made the librarian hunt for it when I couldn't find it on the shelf! As H said in the comments, I guess I am 'pretty pregnant' by now. 29 weeks to be exact, so just over 7 months. I look more and more like a Weeble every day.

Stuff Nick Hornby's been reading.

The man who wrote the musical Billy Elliot comments on Geordie songs.